In the four previous editions of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, starting with the inaugural event at Atlanta 1996, USA never failed to reach the final. And as they prepare for a last-four clash against northern neighbours and familiar foes Canada here at London 2012, they are no less determined to continue their staggering run. What is more, the duo faced off in the final of the CONCACAF qualifying competition for the Games, with the Stars and Stripes racking up a morale-boosting 4-0 success.
Canada – United States, Old Trafford, Manchester, Monday 6 August, 19:45 (local time)
Though a nation with a fine pedigree in the women’s game, this is only the second time Canada have competed at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament. On their previous outing at Beijing 2008, the Canucks exited at the quarter-final stage at the hands of, who else, the United States.
After the sides had shared a 1-1 draw in normal time, when Canada’s Christine Sinclair cancelled out Angela Hucles’ opener, it took an extra-time winner from USA substitute Natasha Kai to seal victory for the eventual champions. Of the squads that day in China, 11 USA players and 12 from Canada will be in Manchester on Monday.
As far as the history books are concerned, they do not make pleasant reading for Canadian fans. In 49 encounters, the Stars and Stripes have won 42, drawn four and lost just three, with the Canucks’ last win over their rivals a 3-0 success in the Algarve Cup on 11 March 2001.
142 – The number of senior international goals United States striker Abby Wambach has struck so far, while Canadian sharpshooter Sinclair is hot on her heels with 140. Both remain on course to topple the all-time leading scorer in the history of the women’s game, USA’s Mia Hamm, who hit 158 goals in her stellar career. Wambach and Canada’s Melissa Tancredi are currently joint top of the scorers’ standings here at London 2012, with four goals apiece to date.
“They are a fantastic team. There’s a reason why they’re the best in the world. Our stats against them aren’t great, but what better moment to start changing that?” Canada player Kaylyn Kyle.